Monday, October 29, 2007


Lingle vs. Legislature

by Larry Geller

I need to send you over to Poinography for an analysis of this afternoon's House session which included testimony by the Governor. And some dramatic moments, it seems. Darn, I missed a good fight.

Why? Because I couldn't get in.

I went back to the Capitol this afternoon intending to give testimony in support of an appointee and to maybe attend the House hearing. But I couldn't find a parking space. There were probably two dozen or more empty spaces in the Capitol garage with stanchions bearing signs saying "Assigned Parking" or with paper bags over the meters. The Dept. of Health lot across the street was full, with several cars lurking in the hope of snagging any space that might open up. In frustration, I just left.

Parking at the Capitol is controlled by DAGS, I understand. Who controls DAGS, the Legislature or the Governor? Could this be an insidious plot to limit public participation? Sheesh, to even have a thought like that...  The lege might do something about this sad situation. I'm sure I'm not the only one to complain about the sequestering of parking spaces.

Anyway, stick with the blogs for news and opinion that doesn't get into the newspapers.


Don't you know that joke about public participation and parking at the Lege? Heck that lawn outside is pretty nice. I'll bet it could take getting parked on 4 or 5 times a year. It doesn't happen too often that an event this sensational causes all of the parking under the capitol to disappear. Although parking is chronically short there even on a normal session day.

Almost every bus route serves the Capitol or the immediate vicinity. Outside of walking or bicycling, that's your best bet. Heck, if you factor in the parking meters, the bus may actually be cheaper than driving.

Actually I almost always walk to the Capitol. I've got my sunscreen, hat, and mp3 player in a convenient location for the trek. Just that day I picked up my car from being serviced and figured I could actually eat lunch for a change and still get to a confirmation hearing. Silly me.

It's all organized to frustrate public participation. Not just the parking. The public couldn't give testimony at the House hearing that day until after 9 pm???

Of course, anyone on a Neighbor Island is out of luck. One legislator told me he doesn't read written testimony. So I guess either come to Oahu for a face-to-face or forget about democracy working for you. (stop laughing)

I had signed up to testify at Monday's hearing. After I had been there for three hours and heard all my issues addresses by others who articulated them better than I could have, I formulated new testimony in my head. It went something like this...

Do you wonder why only about 25% of Hawaii residents vote? Or why this room is about 80% empty for a hearing that has evoked so much emotion and interest from the public?

Perhaps it's because the hearing is being held during working hours and most people in Hawaii have to work. But, even for the few who can take time off from work, parking is almost impossible to find and if you're lucky enough to get a spot, it's expensive even in the City garage. Of course thise practical obstacles pale compared to the sense of hopelessness and frustration that come from watching our elected officials show such flagrant disrespect for our judicial system, our environmental protection law, and the LARGE number of residents who are opposed to this special session and this bill to help out a big business that has been insensitive to our people and place.

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